The Latest: NCAA suspends infraction hearings, arguments

Sports

A locked gate is seen by the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City was due to play Burnley in an English Premier League soccer match Saturday March 14, 2020, after all English soccer games were cancelled due to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. For most people, the new COVID-19 coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, but for some it can cause more severe illness.(AP Photo/Jon Super)

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

The NCAA says hearings and oral arguments in infractions cases have been suspended through May 31 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA announced the move in a statement on its website Friday. It applies to cases before the infractions committee, appeals and the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process created to handle complex cases in the wake of the federal corruption investigation into college basketball.

Deadlines for schools in pending cases to file briefs and other documentation remain in effect, including the release of rulings.

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The U.S. Tennis Association says its best not to play the sport right now because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a posting on its website on Friday, the USTA called it “in the best interest of society to take a collective pause” from tennis.

The statement from the organization that runs the U.S. Open Grand Slam tournament said there have not been specific studies about tennis and the COVID-19 illness.

But there is “the possibility” that germs could be transferred among people via sharing and touching of tennis balls, net posts, court surfaces, benches or gate handles.

So the USTA wants players “to be patient in our return to the courts.”

In the meantime, the group encouraged people to create what it termed “tennis-at-home” variations.

The U.S. Open is still scheduled to start Aug. 31 in New York.

The All England Club announced this week that it had canceled this year’s edition of Wimbledon. The French Open was postponed from May to September.

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Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is contributing $1 million to Penn Medicine to establish the COVID-19 Immunology Defense Fund.

Funds will support research program to test frontline health care workers for potential immunity to COVID-19 and for Penn Medicine’s researchers to develop real-time research protocols to battle the disease.

“We have reached a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 in which testing for antibodies is absolutely essential both to protect our front-line workers in the short term and to develop treatments and vaccines that will save lives and help defeat the virus,” Lurie said in a release.

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Calgary, Alberta’s ban on public events until June 30 includes National Hockey League and Canadian Football League games should those leagues resume before then.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi made the announcement Friday. Leagues, games and tournaments around the world have been suspended, canceled or postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NHL suspended operations March 12 with 189 regular-season games remaining. The Calgary Flames were in playoff position sitting third in the Pacific Division. All CFL training camps have been postponed.

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Wyoming says football coach Craig Bohl and wife Leia have made a $100,000 gift to fund the scholarships of spring-sport senior athletes who plan to return to school next year after having their seasons canceled by the coronavirus outbreak.

The school said the estimated cost of the scholarships will be $70,000. The NCAA announced earlier this week that spring-sport athletes would be granted an extra year of eligibility and seniors could return next year without being counted against scholarship limits. But those athletes would not be guaranteed scholarship funds. How much athletes received would be up to each individual school.

Wyoming announced the remainder of the Bohls’ donation would go to supporting the athletic training table and nutritional needs.

Earlier this week, Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman announced he was taking a 10% salary cut through Dec. 31.

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The CONCACAF Nations League semifinals and final in June have been called off.

The U.S. had been scheduled to play Honduras on June 4 in Houston, with Mexico meeting Costa Rica in the other semifinal. The winners were to play three days later at Arlington, Texas.

The Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football said Friday it made the decision due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is not yet known when the matches will be rescheduled.

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The Ottawa Senators have offered use of the Canadian Tire Centre, the building’s nine adjacent parking lots and three other community arenas affiliated with the team to the Ontario government for temporary use during the coronavirus pandemic.

The NHL team said Friday that owner Eugene Melnyk approached the province this week and is awaiting a reply. The offer comes with the potential use of 17 unleased private suites inside Ottawa’s NHL rink — including Melnyk’s — and amounts to roughly 200,000 square feet of adaptable space.

The NHL paused its season March 12. Six members of the Senators’ organization, including at least two players, tested positive for COVID-19, as did the radio color commentator.

England’s contracted men’s players are donating 500,000 pounds ($610,000) to the England and Wales Cricket Board and selected good causes, and the England’s women’s squad is taking a pay cut for April, May and June because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The players are all making 20% pay cuts for the next three months to fund the voluntary gesture.

They plan to detail the charitable donations next week.

The announcement by the Professional Cricketers’ Association followed talks over how England’s leading players would respond to the crisis after a request from the ECB for 20% pay cuts.

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The SailGP global league has suspended its season through the end of June due to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out a regatta scheduled for New York on June 12-13. Ticket purchasers will be automatically refunded by the end of June.

SailGP already canceled its San Francisco regatta that had been set for May 2-3.

Two more regattas are on the schedule for 2020, at Cowes, England, Aug. 14-15 and at Copenhagen Sept. 11-12.

The opening regatta of SailGP’s second season, held in Sydney in late February, was won by British sailing star Sir Ben Ainslie, who also is leading an America’s Cup campaign. SailGP was co-founded by former America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand and tech billionaire Larry Ellison.

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FIFA has extended the age limit for the men’s soccer tournament at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA says it also postponed two women’s age-group World Cups due this year, and no international games will be played in the early June dates protected for national team call-ups.

The amended Olympic rule retains the “players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997” standard for the Tokyo Games.

It means players eligible for the intended under-23 tournament in 2020 can still play in Japan at age 24 next year. Men’s soccer kicks off ahead of the July 23, 2021 opening ceremony in Tokyo.

The 16 teams at the Tokyo Olympics next year can also select three over-age players in their rosters. A stellar lineup includes Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain.

The decision was made on Friday by a FIFA panel of soccer officials worldwide created to address the soccer shutdown.

Two women’s World Cup tournaments — the Under-20s hosted by Panama and Costa Rica in August and September, and the Under-17s in India in November — are postponed.

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Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper is donating $500,000 to help coronavirus relief efforts in his hometown of Las Vegas and in Philadelphia.

Harper and his wife, Kayla, are giving money to Direct Relief and Three Square in Las Vegas and Philabundance in Philadelphia.

“Now is the time to come together and adhere to the guidelines of medical professionals! We are wishing the best to all with our prayers during this time,” the couple said in a statement.

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The Sacramento Kings’ former arena and practice facility is being converted into a surge field hospital for COVID-19 and trauma care patients.

The arena, in suburban Natomas, was the Kings’ home from 1988 until 2016, when they moved into a downtown facility.

The Kings and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services say the hospital will have approximately 360 beds along with additional hospital services.

The Kings are also donating 100,000 medical masks and $250,000 to community service organizations.

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The PGA Tour executive who oversees player activity is the first PGA Tour employee to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Ross Berlin, the tour’s senior vice president of player affairs, says he was self-isolating after The Players Championship was canceled when he complained of losing his sense of taste and smell. His doctor put him through a coronavirus hotline interview and told him he wasn’t a high-risk candidate without a fever or breathing difficulties.

Berlin says a few days later, on March 27, he had a fever. He at first was told he had pneumonia, but a test came back positive for the virus.

He says he called everyone with whom he has been in contact — including his barber — and is feeling better. He says doctors told him players he might have seen on March 13 shouldn’t be concerned because he’s beyond the 14-day incubation period.

Berlin has been in various positions with the tour since 1998, with a brief spell as Michelle Wie’s first agent. He says his wife is awaiting her test results, though she has not shown any symptoms.

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The Carolina Hurricanes are putting more than half of full-time staff on furlough through June 7 while taking steps they said would ensure affected employees don’t lose income amid the coronavirus pandemic that has led to the suspension of the NHL season.

The team announced the plan Friday with the team and PNC Arena having shut down operations last month to ensure social-distancing practices.

The team says the furlough applies to about 55% of full-time employees, who would be directed to access unemployment benefits through the government’s $2.2 trillion economic rescue package.

Furloughed employees ineligible to collect full base salaries through unemployment would receive a bonus from the organization when the furlough ends “to be made whole.”

Additionally, furloughed employees will keep healthcare benefits, with the team covering premium payments during that time.

In a statement, team president and general manager Don Waddell says the organization “remains committed to taking care of our staff as well as possible given these unprecedented circumstances.” Waddell said the plan “protects our employees from financial hardship while also mitigating the losses suffered by the company during this shutdown.”

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Philadelphia 76ers owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, as well as All-Star center Joel Embiid made a combined contribution of $1.3 million to Penn Medicine.

The money established a funding campaign for COVID-19 antibody testing of front line health care workers. The pledge from Embiid, Harris and Blitzer was expected to help boost efforts to quickly identify health care workers who may have immunity to the virus.

Embiid says “we need to do everything possible to help those heroes who are putting their lives at risk to help us.” The gifts will support new experimental serology tests that detect antibodies to determine if a person has ever been infected with the virus-identifying staff and providers that might have immunity.

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One of the major summer baseball leagues for college players has canceled its season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Bruce Alger of the Valley Baseball League in Virginia said the executive committee unanimously agreed the risk to players’ health would be too great.

The 11-team Valley League has been sanctioned by the NCAA since 1961 and began using wooden bats in 1993. It’s among dozens of leagues where college players spend their summers.

The Cape Cod League, generally considered the top summer league, said it had not decided whether to cancel its season. Play is scheduled to begin June 13.

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Major League Lacrosse has postponed the start of its season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The six-team league was scheduled to begin its 20th season on May 30.

In a statement, the league says “this decision was made to safeguard the health of our players, fans and staff, as well as those within our MLL communities as a result of the global pandemic.”

MLL has teams in Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Long Island, New York, Annapolis, Maryland, and Fairfield, Connescticut.

No date has been set for the season to begin. The league says it will be guided by CDC recommendations.

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Company-wide layoffs by NASCAR on Friday were part of previously planned restructuring. NASCAR did not reveal the number of employees affected. NASCAR “centralized” Iowa Speedway by dismissing most of its staff to instead use the employees from Kansas Speedway. That track is roughly four hours away from Iowa Speedway. The personnel changes were planned as part of restructuring from last years’ merger of NASCAR and track operator sister company International Speedway Corp.

NASCAR already has issued pay-cuts to its entire organization. It last week cut executives’ salary 25%, and 20% for other employees as stock car’s sanctioning body adapts to the new coronavirus pandemic. The 38-race NASCAR schedule is the longest in sports spanning nearly 11 months and the season was suspended four races into the year. The next publicly scheduled race is May 9 at Martinsville Speedway, but Virginia is under a state-at-home order into June. NASCAR has privately floated to teams revised 2020 schedules but not announced anything about rescheduling its races.

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The Southeastern Conference is extending its ban on practices and organized gatherings through the end of May.

The ban includes team and individual practices, meetings and other gatherings — whether voluntary or required — as well as camps and coaches clinics.

The powerhouse league had previously announced that in-person athletics activities were suspended through April 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Also Friday, the conference said virtual film review that does not include physical activity is permissible. Effective April 6, activity of this nature will be expanded to four hours a week consistent with an NCAA rule waiver and NCAA legislation, an increase from the previously permissible maximum of two hours a week.

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A gaming site is donating $20,000 for pandemic relief in New Jersey and giving out another $20,000 to fans who can predict the results of the NBA 2K tournament among NBA players.

The 16-player tournament begins Friday night and will air on ESPN. Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant is the overall No. 1 seed and opens play against No. 16 Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat in the first round.

The winner of the week-long tournament will receive a $100,00 donation to a coronavirus-related relief effort of their choice.

BetMGM has a free bracket game available on its website to all verified New Jersey players. All competitors with a perfect bracket will split $20,000 in prizes.

If there are no perfect brackets, the prize will be split among the highest scorers.

BetMGM is also donating the same amount to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

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The Serie A says it will consider resuming only “when health conditions permit it.”

The Italian league has been suspended since March 9, when the government ordered a nationwide lockdown.

A new government decree issued this week prevents clubs from training — even in small groups — for at least another 10 days.

Twelve rounds of Serie A remain, plus four games that were postponed from the weekend of Feb. 22. Also, the Italian Cup semifinals were interrupted after the first leg.

Following a video conference meeting of all 20 Serie A clubs on Friday, the league said “it will await the decrees from the government and place in primary consideration taking care of the athletes’ health and all people involved.”

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Officials say they’re working to find a new date for the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Maryland Jockey Club and Stronach Group announced Friday that whenever the Preakness is run in 2020, it will go on without infield activities that had been one of the race’s biggest traditions. The Preakness was scheduled for May 16 in Baltimore.

The organizations say in a joint statement finding a new date for the Preakness “will take into consideration all of the recommended best practices from local and governmental health authorities to protect our community.” The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. No decision has yet been made on the Belmont Stakes, which is scheduled for June 6 at Belmont Park in New York.

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The Lawn Tennis Association is giving up to 20 million pounds ($24 million) through grants and interest-free loans to help venues, coaches, officials, and players in Britain during the coronavirus pandemic.

Singles players world ranked from 101 to 750 and doubles players ranked from 101 to 250 — who are not already receiving funding — are eligible for grants, and there will be increased prize money for British tour events if the tours resume. This week, Wimbledon was canceled and the tours suspended the British grass-court season.

Most of the focus of the LTA package is on protecting the grassroots, including continued funding for development centers and the two national academies, and supporting full-time coaches.

Chief executive Scott Lloyd and the executive team will take temporary pay cuts of 20%, while some staff will be furloughed next week but will be paid 80% of their salary.

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Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce says team employees have been tested after exhibiting symptoms for the new coronavirus.

He says no players or members of the coaching staff have shown any symptoms or been tested.

Pierce said Friday he doesn’t know the identity of those who were tested. He said at least 18 or 19 days have passed since any members of the team would have had contact with the employees.

“Everyone that has been tested, the symptoms they had or reported, they do feel better,” Pierce said. He said he has “become a master of this Zoom app” while having video conferencing with players, assistants and other NBA coaches.

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The NFL’s Indianapolis Colts are giving season-ticket holders the option to defer April’s payment until June 15.

On Friday, team officials emailed letters to those with payment plans, giving them a Wednesday deadline to accept the offer.

The final two installments were initially due April 15 and May 15. The Colts have not announced any changes about the May payment.

“In light of the unique circumstances right now, we have decided to modify the payment options for members of our season ticket family on payment plans,” the letter reads in part.

The move comes one day after the Indiana High School Athletic Association canceled the entire spring sports season. State officials had previously announced all schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

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Mental health experts who were supposed to be available to help American athletes at the Tokyo Olympics are being asked to start working now.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says the experts are leading discussions about mental health and wellness for athletes and staff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Those same experts will also be on hand at the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed a year.

The USOPC also disclosed the 13 members of a new external mental health task force created to support American athletes and coaches. It includes Olympians, doctors and the head of The Speedy Foundation, a mental-health organization named after the late Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, an Olympic silver medalist in aerials.

That group is working with an internal group at the USOC being led by chief medical officer Jonathan Finnoff.

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The world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev on June 20 has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The fight was scheduled to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London and will be Joshua’s first defense of his IBF, WBA, WBO belts since he regained them from Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua’s promoter, Matchroom Boxing, says a new date for the fight is being worked on.

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More than a dozen U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes received reassurance this week when Toyota North America announced it would extend their endorsement contracts through the rescheduled Tokyo Games in 2021.

The auto company and major Olympic sponsor has 17 U.S. athletes under contract. They include swimmer David Boudia, gymnast Laurie Hernandez, Paralympian Oksana Masters and sprinter Michael Norman.

The status of endorsement contracts is a major concern to athletes because most signed deals that were set to expire after this year’s scheduled Olympics. They have been rescheduled for 2021 and that has forced corporations to reset and rethink the structure of their deals.

Visa is another major sponsor and has also told its global roster of nearly 100 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls that it will extend sponsorships through 2021.

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World Triathlon has extended its suspension of all events from the end of April to the end of June because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest events to be called off include the Yokohama leg of the world series, three African Cups, three American events, four Asian Cups, one event in Oceania and eight in Europe.

World Triathlon president Marisol Casado says “the suspension of all activities doesn’t mean at all that we stop working” on finding alternative dates.

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The WNBA has postponed the start of its season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The league was set to open training camps on April 26 and the regular season was to begin on May 15. The WNBA will still hold a “virtual” draft on April 17.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees.”

The WNBA, which was set to begin its 24th season, is the longest running professional women’s sports league.

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The Premier League has pushed back its restart date and says play will not resume at the beginning of May.

The league had given a return date of April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak but now says the season “will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.”

It says there remained a “combined objective” for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played to maintain the integrity of each competition.

The league also says it has consulted players over a pay deduction or deferral of 30%.

It also voted to advance funds of 125 million pounds ($150 million) to clubs in the English Football League and fifth-tier National League.

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German soccer club Borussia Dortmund is converting part of its stadium into a treatment center amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bundesliga club says a space inside Germany’s largest soccer stadium has been made available for medical staff to examine people with virus symptoms.

The move comes after an influx of suspected coronavirus cases put existing facilities in the city of Dortmund under strain.

The center will open on Saturday.

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The Tour de Suisse has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, removing one of the few cycling events left on the calendar before the Tour de France is due to start.

The nine-day Swiss race was scheduled to run from June 6-14 and is designed to give riders a chance to prepare for the three-week Tour de France. The French race is still scheduled to start on June 27.

Colombian rider Egan Bernal won in Switzerland last year ahead of his first Tour de France title.

Organizers in Switzerland say its “the first time since the Second World War that the traditional event will not take place.”

They say “the risk of additional strain on the Swiss health system due to possible crashes during racing is high.”

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The Russian anti-doping agency is preparing to freeze all testing until May to comply with new government measures shutting down work deemed non-essential.

RUSADA deputy CEO Margarita Pakhnotskaya tells The Associated Press that her agency is looking for possible exemptions to instructions from President Vladimir Putin for all Russians except those working in essential sectors to stay home through April 30.

Pakhnotskaya says in a text message that she “will check on Monday the possibility to receive special permission” from government bodies for staff to collect samples from athletes. There will be no testing this month if that isn’t granted.

Testing has been suspended since March 27 under a previous round of measures.

Isolation measures around the world have led to a sharp drop in anti-doping tests. That’s led to warnings that some athletes could take advantage of the situation. The World Anti-Doping Agency says it is trying to track gaps in testing.

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Former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang was among 20 people arrested in Kenya for locking themselves in a bar and drinking alcohol in breach of a curfew imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Police say the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist was among those detained at a police station in Iten, one of Kenya’s famous high-altitude towns where distance runners train. They were in breach of a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The group included a local politician.

Kipsang, who is also a police officer, was provisionally suspended this year from track and field and charged with doping offenses that include tampering with doping samples. He has also won the New York, London and Berlin marathons.

Twelve athletes were arrested in Iten earlier this week for breaching Kenyan government regulations on social gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis. The runners were arrested for training in a group, which has been banned in Kenya. Training camps have been shut down and athletes must train alone.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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